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Monday, September 29, 2008

The Bad Samaritan

A stranger knocked on the door just now. He was full of apologies for intruding. Everything seemed to take him a long time to say. I kept asking him what he wanted. He pointed in the direction of his car which was apparently parked down the road. He would leave me I.D. and he would pay it back tomorrow but - and he realised that there was no reason for me to trust him - he needed "four or five pounds". Because I have a massive suspicion of anyone who turns up at my door, I said no.

I then started to wonder whether I'd turned my back on some deserving citizen. You never know. Alyson recalled the woman in Marks & Spencer who'd once paid her shopping bill when she found herself without a purse. And I remembered lots of other acts of kindness from complete strangers. What kind of monster had London turned me into?

Putting the bins out later on I bumped into a neighbour. There's a bloke working the street, he said. Trying to cadge money from people. Another neighbour had turned him away, then thought better of it, got a spare can of petrol out of his shed and gone looking for the bloke. He found him. Funnily enough bloke didn't want petrol.

So I was right. Restores your lack of faith in human nature.